Sundiata Acoli granted parole

Sundiata-Acoli, Sundiata Acoli granted parole, News & Views
Sundiata is scheduled to be out on parole in May 2022.

by Bea Phi, Prison Radio

“There is something about Sundiata [Acoli] that exudes calm,” Assata Shakur once said. “From every part of his being you can sense the presence of revolutionary spirit and fervor. And his love for Black people is so intense that you can almost touch it and hold it in your hand.”

Today, in 2022, Sundiata has been granted parole by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, thus overturning the denial of the Parole Board. Now at the age of 85, Sundiata may walk free alongside the company of his loved ones. It was the persevering commitment of abolitionists across decades, not to mention the indomitable spirit of Sundiata which endured in all of that time, which allowed today to be possible.

We, as his friends at Prison Radio, would like to extend a warm welcome to Sundiata as he returns back into the world with long overdue freedom. Four years ago, Sundiata read back to us the words of his comrade Assata, a promise of liberation to come. Today, he makes good on that promise:

“I have been locked by the lawless, handcuffed by the haters, gagged by the greedy, and, if I know anything at all, it’s that a wall is just a wall and nothing more at all. It can be broken down. I believe in living. I believe in birth. I believe in the sweat of love and in the fire of truth. And I believe that a lost ship, steered by tired, seasick sailors, can still be guided home to port.” – Assata Shakur

Most newspapers and magazines will tell that Sundiata is a convicted murderer.  What they will not tell you is how he came to be in the cross hairs of the FBI and the police. Sundiata, from a very young age, was a prodigy. He graduated from Prairie View A&M University with a degree in mathematics at the astonishing age of 15, after which he went on to work as a computer scientist at NASA where he quite literally reached for the stars.

Yet, in his 20s, he was confronted by a decision.  One that John Brown made as well.

It was later in his 20s that he decided once and for all to dedicate himself to the Black freedom struggle, becoming a forever member of the Black Panther Party. As Assata reminds, he loved and still loves Black people – with a radical love that’s strong enough to stir up the walls of any prison.

In 1973, Sundiata, Assata and comrade Zayd Shakur were caught up in a traffic stop on the New Jersey turnpike. Because of the ensuing confrontation with police officers, Zayd was killed, Assata became a wanted fugitive, and Sundiata was convicted of murder. For almost five decades, Sundiata has been incarcerated because he committed the crime of having been a revolutionary.

When we fight, we win!

Prison Radio brings the voices of incarcerated people into the public debate. Visit them at